Re: What is your favorite POV?

#1
1st, 2nd, 3rd? All different kinds of stories can be told with these, as well as different sub categories.

First, second, and third person are ways of describing points of view.
  • First person is the I/we perspective.
  • Second person is the you perspective.
  • Third person is the he/she/it/they perspective.
So what is your favorite? To Read? To Write? Any you don't like? 


Personally I tend to favor 3rd person of all types, as it feels less like the author forcing me, the reader, Into identifying with the character. 1st and 2nd have their places, but tend to turn me off stories unless the story premise is really good.

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#4
Third-person is usually my preference for writing because I almost always write multiple protagonists per story. I know there are ways to do that with first-person, but they've never seemed worth the hassle.

For reading, it depends on the author's skill level. In the hands of a skilled author, I don't really have a preference between third-person and first. However, I think first-person is harder to pull off. (i.e: cringy writing becomes more cringy in first-person than it does in third.)

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#5
Third, all the way.

First can be alright, if it's framed as a sort of auto-biography (i.e Animorphs), but I'm not a fan of it if the reader is being treated as a sort of insert. It feels too confining and I often find myself going "But I'd do that completely different!). The same goes for second person.

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#10
Third for both reading and writing. I have a problem with first-person while reading. It breaks the immersion for me. I know it is strange and is actually supposed to do the opposite but my brain always knows that what I am reading is fictional, so when I read "I went and killed a dragon", my brain screams "Yea, you didn't. You went to the dentist yesterday!". Also, I rarely identify with the main characters of the stories I read and am more the side character person. Coming from that, the limited and unreliable narration that the first-person perspective provides to side characters just bugs me (I know, I know, it is closer to real life, but hell, I read it for the dragon-slaying and not for its realism!).

Oh, and don't let me start with second! I feel like someone is ordering me to do something. You go there, you dig a hole, you jump in. No! Simply no. Second-person narration has its place - in RPG manuals and games. And in the Ten Commandments, if you insist on mentioning best-sellers. 

Yep, I am weird, I know.   peojudging peoeating

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#11

Derin_Edala Wrote: I'm fine with both first and third, provided they're written well. They each work well in different stories.

Second is of course quite exhausting for anything longer than a short story.


I feel some authors are particularly entertaining when they tell a story in the first person, with everything being filtered through one character's perceptions and opinions. With other authors, I feel it doesn't make much difference. And sometimes a story can't be told through just one person's perspective, and it wouldn't make much sense to have dozens of characters each taking turns narrating one scene in the first person before the viewpoint flipped again. (For instance, Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" never would have worked as a first-person narrative from start to finish, and neither would Frank Herbert's Dune.

Even before I read your comment about second person, I'd already been thinking: "Have I ever seen second-person used as 'the default' in anything longer than a short story, or one unusual scene within a much larger story that was mostly third-person narrative?" I don't think I have.

In other words, if anyone has ever written a novel-length story that really works hard at using "second person narration" as the default, I don't remember ever reading it. Can anyone provide an example?

Note: As an afterthought, I should clarify that I'm not counting such things as the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books from around the 1980s. I liked them, once upon a time, but they were trying to make you feel that "you" were the protagonist in what was basically a game with lots of branching options, rather than each book being one cohesive story moving steadily toward a set ending. ("If you decide to threaten the pirate, turn to Page 25. If you decide to grovel and beg for mercy, turn to Page 77.")

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#12

Lorendiac Wrote:
Derin_Edala Wrote: I'm fine with both first and third, provided they're written well. They each work well in different stories.

Second is of course quite exhausting for anything longer than a short story.


I feel some authors are particularly entertaining when they tell a story in the first person, with everything being filtered through one character's perceptions and opinions. With other authors, I feel it doesn't make much difference. And sometimes a story can't be told through just one person's perspective, and it wouldn't make much sense to have dozens of characters each taking turns narrating one scene in the first person before the viewpoint flipped again. (For instance, Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" never would have worked as a first-person narrative from start to finish, and neither would Frank Herbert's Dune.

Even before I read your comment about second person, I'd already been thinking: "Have I ever seen second-person used as 'the default' in anything longer than a short story, or one unusual scene within a much larger story that was mostly third-person narrative?" I don't think I have.

In other words, if anyone has ever written a novel-length story that really works hard at using "second person narration" as the default, I don't remember ever reading it. Can anyone provide an example?


I don't believe I've read a published book that was 2nd person that wasn't a choose your own adventure. 

However it is popular in (character)X Reader fanfiction. And there is some genuinely good (in my eyes) 2nd person stuff out there. It could never be published and a majority if it is R rated. Hell I've even read a fairly long story once (it was like 25+ chapters last time I read it) and I loved it, the author did a very good job world building but It WAS fanfic so it'll never be published.

It isn't a POV that Lends to longer-term stories for sure, though. And I would be very interested in seeing if there are any good long 2nd person stories out there.

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#13

Lorendiac Wrote:
Derin_Edala Wrote: I'm fine with both first and third, provided they're written well. They each work well in different stories.

Second is of course quite exhausting for anything longer than a short story.


I feel some authors are particularly entertaining when they tell a story in the first person, with everything being filtered through one character's perceptions and opinions. With other authors, I feel it doesn't make much difference. And sometimes a story can't be told through just one person's perspective, and it wouldn't make much sense to have dozens of characters each taking turns narrating one scene in the first person before the viewpoint flipped again. (For instance, Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" never would have worked as a first-person narrative from start to finish, and neither would Frank Herbert's Dune.

Even before I read your comment about second person, I'd already been thinking: "Have I ever seen second-person used as 'the default' in anything longer than a short story, or one unusual scene within a much larger story that was mostly third-person narrative?" I don't think I have.

In other words, if anyone has ever written a novel-length story that really works hard at using "second person narration" as the default, I don't remember ever reading it. Can anyone provide an example?

Note: As an afterthought, I should clarify that I'm not counting such things as the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books from around the 1980s. I liked them, once upon a time, but they were trying to make you feel that "you" were the protagonist in what was basically a game with lots of branching options, rather than each book being one cohesive story moving steadily toward a set ending. ("If you decide to threaten the pirate, turn to Page 25. If you decide to grovel and beg for mercy, turn to Page 77.")


First person is great for giving the protagonist personality through the narrator voice (I almost always write in first person), but third person is better at giving the world or theme personality through the narrator voice. For example, Harry Potter (especially the first couple of books) is great at portraying the general mood of Harry's world through the narrator's voice and giving us a sense of Harry's general feelings and perspective of the magical world through it, but if it had been in first person and shackled specifically to his perspective and mood, it would probably come across a lot darker (since Harry's home life and general feeling of safety and wellbeing is... not great, to say the least). Whereas the Animorphs series (first person) can get far more intensely in the head of whoever's narrating at the time and give us a clear sense of who they are and how their coping, at the expense of any tonal flexibility -- we're shackled specifically to what they're experiencing, while a third person narration (even third person limited) introduces enough distance to let the narrator voice tell us how they want us to feel about the world even if it differs from what the character is feeling.

Second person has difficulty conveying mood because people don't like being directly ordered what to feel. This is probably why second person is usually either fairly feelings-neutral (such as in game books), in situations where it's already established and agreed upon what the reader should be feeling (such as the mentioned characterxreader fanfics -- these are usually written with the understanding that the reader is looking for a specific fantasy with specific related feelings), or used in genres where a lack of agency and a somewhat antagonistic relationship with the narrator voice is considered an advantage (eg., horror).

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#16
Second person throws me off enough that I have trouble editing them. And present tense is impossible for me to edit and almost impossible to read (there's one notable exception that works for me).

First versus third is a matter of story type. If the story works best in one character's head, then first is good; but you can't switch perspective easily, and it requires a different style. You also have to make that character appealing; not because you want the audience to imagine being that character, but rather because you're asking the audience to sympathize with the character at every moment. This is the only perspective that we get, so even if we disagree with the character's choices we have to have enough to understand why he or she made that decision. 

Third is easier to write, but gets harder the more POVs you include. Each character needs a slightly different voice, unless you're going for omniscient; and omniscient limits how much connection you can have to an individual character in the first place. While you can absolutely have a third person POV where you only follow one character, its strength is in your flexibility as a storyteller to show different perspectives and multiple concurrent scenes.

I'm writing (well, not at the moment, but I just moved, I'm dealing with a family crisis of childish proportions this week, and my second son is arriving soon, so I'm not likely to start publishing until October) two web novels, and one is in first while the other is in third. The first focuses a lot on internal reactions, so I had to make it first person. My wife dislikes first person, but agreed that it was the only way to tell this story. The other is an action story with a clear main character, but will need multiple perspectives and will likely show concurrent events. Ergo, that one's third.

I've written down several other concepts I'd like to try. The sci-fi about being marooned on an alien planet is third, with multiple perspectives. The contemporary/historical epic fantasy needs multiple perspectives, including one perspective that will show what happened across thousands of years of history, so that's third. The loose adaptation of a gaming campaign I ran will be third, focusing on the perspectives of three of the characters. The noir contemporary fantasy is almost certainly first person, as is the isekai I'd like to write sometime. The traditional litRPG I'd like to try is . . . well, that isn't set in stone yet, but might be first.

I don't have a different perspective as a reader. I don't know if that's because I can't turn off my editor brain, or if I genuinely don't care. I did have a little trouble getting into first person as a kid, but I think that's because of some boring examples of books that didn't do it right (including one with two first person perspectives). On the whole, I care far more about you, the author, doing it well. 

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#18
I like different perspectives depending on the story. I tend to dislike perspective switching, but I can deal with it as long as it is well done, and mostly following only a couple perspectives/a main story line. I tend to judge each story by its writing, not its perspective. I will add, while I can deal with perspective switching in third person, I have never seen it done well in first person. I abhor it in first person and I will often drop a book that starts perspective switching in first person. I agree with the above statements of first person for one perspective, and if needing to perspective switch, third person works much better. Third person tends to feel more about the action while first person is more of a look into the human condition.

I have not read a true second person story so I cannot comment on how I would feel with a completely second person story. (Not county the choose your own adventure stories because those are more like games.)

My biggest pet peeve on perspective switching is when an author starts switching too early in a story. At least let me start to know a character/the story before switching perspectives. If the author has started switching perspectives too early, I drop their story.

I like to have specific perspectives for each story that I feel match the tone and feeling I am trying to draw out with the story.

My short stories (In the story here called "Ghoster") are a traditional third person limited perspective.

"Dishonor" is a simple first person past tense meant to view the internal conflict of the main character as her decisions cause issues for others, and she has to overcome her own ideals. 

My story  "Life Without Memory", is more of an experimental perspective. Its a first person/second person mix in present tense. You the reader are a ghost who can hear the main characters thoughts. She can sometimes see a vague outline of you, but nothing more. Therefore she sometimes talks to "you" (sometimes she purposefully ignores you because she is angry at you for never responding to her). I have a very specific reason for the reader being a "you" in the story. (The story deals with memories and how they make us who we are.)

Re: What is your favorite POV?

#19
I prefer third-person omniscient, since I am generally writing stories with multiple characters (often not at the same place). It makes it easier to write more complex plots with multiple perspectives. I feel that third-person limited limits - no pun intended - the ability to write a storyline with multiple leading characters.